07/02/08 — Fatal fire ruins home in Magnolia

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Fatal fire ruins home in Magnolia

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on July 2, 2008 1:45 PM

MAGNOLIA -- Two small children managed to escape an early Wednesday morning house fire that claimed the lives of an elderly couple at 508 John Rich Road.

The identities of the victims have not been released pending notification of next of kin, said Duplin Emergency Service Director Brian Pearce.

The SBI, county fire marshal and Sheriff's Office investigated the fire. Pearce said the blaze appeared to be accidental. However, he said the amount of damage to the modular home was so severe that it might be impossible to make a final determination as what caused the fire.

He said he was unsure of how the four were related.

Pearce said the 11-year-old girl smelled smoke and woke the 8-year-old boy before escaping through a window. He said he did not know if it was the smoke that woke up the girl.

The children ran to a neighbor's house.

The neighbor returned with the children, but the fire was so intense that he could not enter the house, Pearce said, and the elderly couple was not able to escape.

Firefighters from Magnolia, Warsaw and Kenansville responded to the alarm that came in at 2:53 a.m. They cleared the scene around 7 a.m.